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Content Management Systems: What is the Right Platform For You

12 Jan 2024 | Website Development

In the business world, there are numerous acronyms to remember, such as SEO, CRM, SERP, CDN, and CMS. Among these, CMS, or content management system, is especially significant, as over 68 million websites use it. But what exactly is a CMS? Well, it’s a tool that can help you easily create a website, even if you have limited technical skills and resources.

Understanding Content Management Systems (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that simplifies the process of creating, managing, and updating digital content, typically websites, without requiring in-depth coding knowledge. It provides an intuitive user interface that enables users to add, edit, and organize content as well as customize the design and functionality of their websites.

Using a CMS, you can handle content creation, management, editing, and publishing through an easy-to-use interface. You can personalize your website’s design and features by obtaining templates and extensions, rather than coding from scratch. The CMS allows multiple users to collaborate on the same platform in the background, among other capabilities.

If you’re curious about how a single software accomplishes all these tasks, let’s explore the inner workings of a CMS.

How CMS Works

To illustrate how a content management system operates, we’ll provide a brief overview of the WordPress interface, a prime example of such a system.

Let’s begin with content creation. Without a content management system, you’d have to craft a static HTML file and then upload it to your server, which might sound rather complex.

However, when you have a content management system like WordPress, you can simply compose your content within an interface that closely resembles Microsoft Word:

It’s indeed much simpler, isn’t it?

Likewise, for uploading and handling media, such as images, you can effortlessly navigate the media library instead of having to directly engage with your web server:

However, the content management system is more than just a backend management interface. It ensures that all the content you create appears to your visitors exactly as you intend it to.

How to Use a CMS

Using a CMS involves two main components: a content management application (CMA) and a content delivery application (CDA). These applications work together to manage the code, database queries, and infrastructure in the background, allowing you to concentrate on the front end of your website.

Instead of beginning with a blank HTML page, you can open the content editor. Here, you can easily format text, include links and calls to action (CTAs), and insert images and tables by simply dragging and dropping modules or clicking a few buttons, without the need to write HTML, CSS, or JavaScript from scratch.

For making other adjustments to your website, such as modifying the permalink structure or adding extensions, you can simply navigate to the relevant section in your admin panel. This is where the content management application (CMA) comes into play, as all these changes occur within an easy-to-use interface that shields you from the underlying code.

Once you’ve completed your modifications, the content delivery application (CDA) steps in. It takes the content you entered in the CMA, compiles the code, presents it to your website’s front-end visitors, and stores it. This means that when you want to publish a new blog post, for instance, you just need to click the Publish button, rather than manually uploading a page to your server.

Now that we’ve covered what a CMS is, how it functions, and how to utilise it, let’s explore the advantages of using a CMS compared to building a website from the ground up or using another website building tool.

Benefits of Using CMS

We’ve touched on some advantages of using a CMS, but let’s delve into specific ways it can impact your setup process, team’s efficiency, and online visibility.

1. No Coding Expertise Needed

CMS systems have transformed web design by empowering non-developers and other users to build websites without coding. You no longer have to depend on web developers and designers to establish your business’s online presence. You can create and manage content, customize your site’s design, and add functionality through extensions—all without needing to code. It’s worth mentioning that most platforms do allow you to include custom code for more precise control over your site. This means even users with limited technical resources and time can create a robust website for their business.

2. Effortless Collaboration

CMS systems enable multiple users to access and work within the backend simultaneously. This means your marketers can produce content, IT professionals can implement security protocols, and developers can add custom code to your theme, all on the same landing page. This collaborative approach streamlines workflows and enhances productivity within your team. HubSpot, for instance, offers a free CMS tool that’s ideal for entrepreneurs seeking a scalable CMS solution as their businesses grow.

3. User Roles and Permissions

A CMS provides an efficient and secure collaborative environment thanks to its built-in (and often customizable) user roles and permissions. Content writers, for instance, can have the necessary permissions to create, publish, and manage content, without the ability to delete plugins or significantly alter the site’s functionality.

In the absence of a CMS, you would need to write complex code, including intricate conditions and checks in JavaScript, to establish user roles and permissions.

4. SEO Tools and Add-Ons

CMS platforms come equipped with in-built features and additional tools to enhance your website’s search engine Optimisation (SEO). You can utilise these features, whether built-in or third-party, to:

● Customize page titles and meta descriptions
● Opt for SEO-friendly URL structures
● Generate XML sitemaps
● Include image alt text
● Create 301 Redirects
● Implement breadcrumb navigation
● Enhance page loading speed

Following these SEO best practices will increase your likelihood of achieving better rankings on major search engines like Google.

5. Security Measures and Extensions

CMS platforms provide in-built security features and optional add-ons to fortify your website’s defenses. Some platforms go a step further by offering a dedicated security team. For instance, CMS Hub offers a dedicated 24/7 security team, an enterprise-grade web application firewall, SSL encryption, custom content delivery network (CDN), single sign-on (SSO) memberships, and various other out-of-the-box security features.

6. Pre-designed Templates

The majority of CMS platforms come with a collection of pre-designed templates that you can easily utilise to customize your website’s appearance. These templates can also influence your website’s behaviour.

For instance, opting for a responsive template ensures that your site appears well on any device without the need for extensive coding. Templates not only save you time during the design phase before your site’s launch but also streamline future website redesigns, making them faster and more straightforward.

7. Effortless Updates

As mentioned earlier, a CMS empowers you to make site modifications quickly and easily, whether they’re substantial updates like a website redesign or minor ones such as changing an image on your homepage. Instead of hiring a freelance developer or attempting to edit code yourself, you can access your CMS dashboard to update and edit your website’s content. This ensures that your content remains dynamic and relevant.

8. Blogging Capabilities

Blogging offers numerous advantages, particularly for businesses. It can boost website traffic, convert visitors into leads, establish authority in a specific industry, generate backlinks, and deliver other long-term benefits. However, constructing a blog from scratch is a challenging task, even for experienced developers.

A significant advantage of using a CMS is that most offer built-in blogging functionality or extensions, simplifying the process of creating and publishing blog content and reaping its benefits.

9. Content Scheduling

Scheduling content is crucial for any editorial strategy. When building a site from the ground up, content scheduling is possible but requires a combination of coding and tools like GitHub.

With a CMS, scheduling content is as simple as clicking a button. Most platforms support scheduling not just for blog posts but also for website pages, landing pages, and emails. For example, CMS Hub allows you to schedule blog posts, website pages, landing pages, and emails with ease.

10. Convenient Accessibility

A CMS platform allows you to access and edit your site from nearly any device with an internet connection. This is far more convenient than the alternative of constructing a site from the ground up, which necessitates being on a device connected to the server or connecting remotely.
Moreover, most CMS systems offer a unified dashboard or control panel where you can conveniently access your site’s content, theme, plugins, settings, and various other elements all in one location.

Examples of CMS

Several examples of CMS (Content Management System) platforms include:

● WordPress
● Drupal
● optimizely CMS
● Contentful
● Squarespace
● Wix

It’s worth noting that while platforms like optimizely Monetize, Adobe Magento, and Shopify manage content like a CMS, they are primarily considered eCommerce platforms with additional content management features rather than being classified as traditional CMS platforms.

The Future of CMS

The future of Content Management Systems is poised for continual evolution and innovation. As digital landscapes expand, user expectations change, and technology advances, CMSs will adapt to meet new demands. We can expect more user-friendly interfaces, better integrations with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, improved mobile responsiveness, and enhanced security features. The ability to manage content across various platforms and devices will become increasingly seamless, ensuring that CMSs remain indispensable tools for content creators and digital businesses in the ever-evolving digital world.

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